On my last question I asked about a creaking/tick I was getting when I was stand pedaling on a climb.

I took it to my LBS today and they said they had stripped all the crank and BB and re-greased it all and all is well.

When I took it out that evening it clearly wasn't and was probably worse so obviously I took it back there today.

They then told me that really the whole gear system is designed so that I don't need to stand pedal uphill. My response was don't talk to me like a 5 year old and explained that I like the challenge of sprinting uphill. Apparently according to the man who served me, theres not a lot I can do to prevent this noise when I'm stand pedaling? My other bikes don't do it, but apparently a Trek 6300 does much to my confusion?

Can someone please tell me if this is normal? Or am I getting conned?

He basically tried to make me feel a bit stupid as I'm still new to this and then decided that trying to sell me a Shimano Hollowtech 2 chainset including BB which would help strengthen the bottom of the bike and prevent the noise?

I'm a bit confused now to be honest and would like some unbiased expert advice from you guys.

  • Is the bike new? Old? Components installed? It's possible that the noise will not be fixed without replacing parts, abut it's also possible that the shop did a poor job or no job. Need more details and photos if possible. – zenbike Apr 10 '12 at 11:39
  • I often hear creaking when I ride, but it's usually coming from my joints. I think the bike shop guy was all wet. Can you tell where the creaking is coming from? Does it happen on both pedal strokes or only on one side? – Daniel R Hicks Apr 10 '12 at 12:27
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    Creaking can come from lots of places, not just the bottom bracket. Certain bike shops suck at diagnosing it properly. I'd check the wheels/skewers next. – prototoast Apr 10 '12 at 14:12
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    +1 for all of prototoast's points. Also check the pedals and the seat post. – keithmo Apr 10 '12 at 16:49
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    And also effective at stiffening the BB section of the frame, if that's really the issue. But the real problem here appears to be either a lack of skill on the part of the mechanic, or a lack of trust in the mechanic on your part. Go to a different shop, and get a second opinion. – zenbike Apr 11 '12 at 4:26

First, to respond to the issue of your LBS -- you shouldn't be made to feel foolish or to feel obligated to purchase expensive replacement parts. The lack of attention and reassurance you're getting suggests that maybe you need to take your business elsewhere (which can be difficult if there are few local options).

Second, your creak/tick is not normal (and, as many have rightly pointed out, could come from many components which carry your pedaling force). While there are a number of components which have a tendency to creak or tick while remaining safe and functional (your BB for example), what your LBS should have checked for is any integrity issues with your frame (though, they may have done so and not mentioned it. Who knows?)

Bicycle frames (Al, CroMo, Ti, Carbon Fiber...) can develop cracks in a number of places which, when stressed by pedaling aggressively, can generate creaks or ticks in time with pedaling forces. Some bike frames will live decades with cracks while others can--and do--fail catastrophically (i.e. your head tube tearing off...though, thankfully, this is infrequent).

I recommend that you take your bike to a different bike shop and ask them to investigate this potential problem (more info on frame inspections here). If they're good, they'll give you sound advice about repairs or replacement (avoid trashing your other shop, though. It's bad etiquette.)

If the noise is a component, a good shop will solve the problem; a mediocre shop will replace every component one-by-one until the issue is solved (and a terrible shop will try to sell you a new bike!) Understand, however, that nuisance squeaks and creaks can be quite common--even for experienced cyclists.

  • This is very true. Keep in mind, though, that we haven't seen the bike, and it is possible that there is noise because or wear on the interface of crank and bob spindle. That can require a new crankset to fix it. At the least though, it sounds like they are not explaining the issue well enough for you to understand why they are trying to sell you the parts. – zenbike Apr 11 '12 at 16:54

I've had the same problem and it was infuriating. I took it to 3 different shops with varying levels of success. Eventually I found an excellent shop who spent about a week investigating and fixing. In the end they found creaks in:

  • Bottom bracket
  • Headset/steering
  • Pedals
  • Wheels (both with spokes and the quick release being too loose)
  • Saddle

I now have my whisper quiet bike back, but the investigation took a lot of effort and skill. I'd suggest trying to find a better bike shop that specialises in servicing rather than sales.


Check your chainring bolts. As others have said, creaks can come from a lot of places and even sound like they're coming from one spot when it's really somewhere else. Modern frames are like guitar bodies, they amplify/resonate the sound and often obfuscate the source.


Maybe this should be a comment to WTHarper's answer, but creaks when pedaling can also be fasteners that are failing.

I have an electric bike that has two chains and an intermediate axle - a chain goes from the cranks to the intermediate, then another from the intermediate to the freewheel. I started hearing creaking noises when pedaling hard, but didn't get a chance to look into it until the 4 bolts holding a cog on the intermediate had sheared off.

sheared bolts

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